POSTED: 2:05 p.m. HST, Apr 25, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 2:30 p.m. HST, Apr 25, 2014
Workers unloading a shipping container at a Keaau store on Hawaii island discovered a two-foot long brown gopher snake, the state Department of Agriculture announced in a news release issued Friday afternoon.
The workers prevented the snake from escaping the 40-foot container by hitting it. The snake died and it was shipped to the Agriculture Department's Honolulu office.
"We appreciate the quick action taken by store employees to stop the snake's escape," said Agriculture Department chairman Scott Enright. "Hitchiking snakes are a constant concern for the department. This situation demonstrates how important it is for all of us to be on the lookout for invasive species.
Gopher snakes are non-venomous, are commonly found in North America and may grow to 7 feet.
They eat small rodents, young rabbits, lizards, birds and eggs.
They kill their prey by constriction and suffocation, the Agriculture Department said.
Anyone with information on illegal animals should call the state's toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378).
Illegal animals may be turned in to any state Agriculture Department office, municipal zoo or humane society.